Back in 2020, in the wake of the George Floyd killing, Sen. Scott co-authored a police reform bill that deserved bipartisan support from Democrats, but it was filibustered instead so the opposing party could claim Republicans did not care about minorities.
In an attempt to explain and defend his bill, Sen. Scott penned an op-ed, and asked the Times to publish it, but the only black Republican senator never saw it printed in the venerable newspaper known as the "Gray Lady."
Last week, however, the South Carolina lawmaker learned from former Times columnist Bair Weiss that his opinion piece caused trouble when editors were considering whether to publish it. In her podcast, where Scott was a guest, Beiss said a “senior colleague” dismissed the op-ed because Republicans don’t care about minorities.
When a “junior colleague” pushed to publish it and defended Scott, Weiss recalled, that senior editor then suggested the Times should check with Sen. Chuck Schumer before publishing it.
“Wow,” Sen. Scott said to that revelation.
“And the colleague, the younger one, refused,” Weiss recalled. “Because he said – because that colleague said – it wasn’t an ethical thing to do.”
Sen. Scott introduced the JUSTICE Act in June 2020. Weiss stepped down in July, the very next month.
Responding to Weiss’s allegation, the Times said in a statement the newspaper’s opinion editors never seek “outside approval or consultation” over publishing a guest essay.
According to National Review, however, a source with direct knowledge of that newsroom discussion backed up Weiss’s account. That person said the senior editor even gave the email address of Schumer’s press representative, Justin Goodman.
Sen. Scott, who was never told by the Times why his op-ed didn’t run, watched Democrats in Congress introduce their own police reform bill in 2021 after they filibustered his legislation.
Weiss, meanwhile, left the Times in 2020 after three years citing a hostile and bullying work environment in which an exchange of ideas was not welcomed. She said fellow staffers called her a Nazi even though she is Jewish, and fellow newsroom employees were “badgered” by others if they treated her nicely.
Much like the senior Times staff she described to Sen. Scott, Weiss wrote that the newspaper believed truth is “an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”